On Monday morning, I give into temptation, buy tobacco, and leave the shop feeling lower than pond scum. This is going to be harder than I thought. I need a force bigger than me to keep me on track. On Monday night, I make a decision: I choose health.
I wake up on Tuesday morning feeling the weight of my decision. Can I do this? How will I do this? Why am I doing this? The questions come thick and fast, and I do my best to ignore them while I roll a joint. I haven’t smoked a cigarette in nine days. To compensate, I’m smoking joints in the morning. Progress?
Even though I’m still smoking tobacco, I’m in the throws of withdrawal, my mind scrambling for all the reasons I need to hang on to nicotine, all the reasons my life will be hellish without it. For now, I’m succumbing to its potent pull. I’ve tried smoking with mint leaves, and/or bud but neither are satisfying. My new plan is to use cannabis oil to ease the cravings of nicotine. I have no idea if it’ll work.
Change Has A Price
The key to change is small steps. Capitalize on what you’ve already got, what you can already do. To maintain momentum, it’s crucial to note small successes along the way, however small. Know that you can always do better tomorrow, and that every mistake is teaching you the path. You can’t know what you want until you know what you don’t want. Then, there are trade-offs.
In my case, I use cannabis to work, and have done for years. It enables me to sit still for hours to complete research and edit thousands of words. When I don’t work I go a bit nuts, the words backing up in me, like a pile-up on the highway in a heat-wave. And when I’m not stoned, my writing process is more hit and run, sitting at my laptop for brief moments to bash out a paragraph, and then dashing off again.
But maybe I can change my style of work, take advantage of my hit and run process by using it to work in shorter time-blocks? Change is a process. Experimenting is essential. Knowing this doesn’t make the process easier. I’m worried that not being able to work will drive me so nuts it’s not worth trying.
But, by Tuesday, I’m sick of smoking tobacco, and sickened by my lack of control. I’m also overwhelmed by the thought of stopping. Every joint tastes like failure, but the change feels too big, and I hate my weakness. I feel more dejected than I did a week ago when I started.
On Tuesday night, a ray of hope shows up. I visit my friend, and he has some cannabis oil. My plan is to smoke it instead of joints with tobacco because its taste, and high is similar to what I’m used to. It’s expensive but I buy it anyway. Change has a price.
Change Means Accepting Failure
On Wednesday morning, I force myself into the gym first thing, and hold out to midday before smoking a joint. I still feel crappy but I set myself some tasks, get them done, and end up having a good day. That one change, waiting till later in the day to smoke, made a big difference. That’s a small win.
On Thursday morning, I wake up late, run some errands, and notice how tired I look when I catch my reflection in a shop window. I sit at my laptop for a full hour before smoking a joint. This, too, is progress. It shows that I can sit and write without smoking. My belief that I can’t write without smoking is my biggest limiting factor.
I begin to notice the other limiting factors. I woke late because I worked late, and then ate bread for breakfast. Because of working late, I’m tired, making it harder to control cravings. An hour after I smoke, the gout in my toe aches, and then my calves begin to swell, a sign of dehydration.
I know it’s the combination of these bad habits that are contributing to my overall poor health. I know they’re all also connected to smoking tobacco. I know all these things but that doesn’t mean I can click my fingers and bam! I’m a new person, all bad habits gone. No matter the change, failure is inevitable.
On Friday morning, I wake up exhausted by my ongoing failure. The first thing I think of is smoking. Then I remember I can’t, and feel even more exhausted. I force myself out of bed, take the dog out, and eat breakfast. With food in my stomach, my mood improves. The urge to smoke goes. I sit down to write and the battle begins: to smoke or not to smoke. The question is driving me mad.
Cannabis is Too Precious To Waste
Even though I got the cannabis oil to manage my nicotine cravings, by the end of the week I realise that I don’t want to waste it. When cannabis is consumed on its own, the high is completely different, cleaner, longer-lasting, more peaceful. I don’t want to contaminate the oil by including it in my nicotine withdrawal process.
By the end of the week I remember what I know to be true: to quit smoking means to stop smoking everything until the nicotine withdrawal is over. That process takes one to two weeks, and it’s what I’m trying to avoid by smoking hash with mint leaves, and buying cannabis oil to smoke pure. The truth is while I’m still addicted to nicotine it’s in charge of my smoking habit, not me. That’s not what I want. Failure is teaching me.
On Saturday night, I sit on my doorstep, smoking a joint, and remember how much I love to do this. It’s a strange summer night, the sky cloudy, and spats of rain splashing my skin. Low pressure. A siren sound in the distance – I have the sense it’s carrying my old life with it. I want all these changes to be real now. That’s not how it works. But I’m in deep, have come too far. There’s no turning back.
Maybe it’s possible for others to use cannabis as a balm while quitting tobacco, but for me, the two habits are so deeply intwined, trying to stop one but not the other is too confusing. Plus, it’s nicotine not cannabis than I’m addicted to, and I don’t want to use cannabis like an addict. I want to enjoy it on my own terms. There’s only one thing left to do. Cold Turkey. Ouch. This is going to hurt.